Petition Closed

When Cristina was 24, she traveled to the U.S. with a man she thought was her boyfriend. But when they arrived in New York, he forced her into sexual slavery in a suburban home. There, he beat and tortured her and several other women, until they submitted to being sold to dozens of men a day for sex.

Cristina was a victim of sex trafficking via what is increasingly referred to as a "Latino residential brothel" or LRB. LRBs exist in nondescript apartments and houses, sometimes in the middle of good neighborhoods. The brothels enslave only Latina women and cater only to Latino men -- sometimes only to people from a certain country or region. A recent news report stated investigators think LRBs can be found in at least 25 states, and each brothel can contain several women and girls.

Investigators are worried LRBs are a growing form of human trafficking in the U.S., but the Department of Justice has yet to create a national strategy or task force to investigate these brothels and learn more about how they and any associated criminal networks operate.

It's time the DOJ got serious about ending sex trafficking in Latino residential brothels with a national strategy and task force.

Letter to
Chief, Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit Mark Kappelhoff
Acting Director, Office of Victims of Crime Joye E. Frost
Director, Bureau of Justice Assistance James Burch II
I recently learned about a disturbing and growing form of sex trafficking in the U.S. via Latino residential brothels, or LRBs.

LRBs can exist anywhere, but are often found in nondescript apartments and houses, sometimes in the middle of good neighborhoods. The brothels enslave only Latina women and cater only to Latino men -- sometimes only to people from a certain country or region. A recent news report stated investigators think LRBs can be found in at least 25 states, and each brothel can contain several women and girls.

The proliferation of LRBs is a significant human rights crisis in the U.S., which has had a long track record of allocating critical government resources to fight human trafficking when needed. I'm asking the Department of Justice to do the same in the fight to stop trafficking via LRBs. The DOJ should:

- create a national action plan to address trafficking via LRBs, working in coordination with state and local law enforcement agencies, anti-trafficking organizations, Latino organizations, and other stakeholder groups;
- create and fund a national task force to investigate trafficking in LRBs;
- publish a report of those findings and share them with state and local law enforcement to better facilitate the identification of both traffickers and victims.

I urge you to take these important steps to stop sex trafficking via Latino residential brothels.

Regards,